I just got this game for my birthday, and I am hooked. There are 20 different games, five card games, five arcade games, three brain games, four search games and three puzzle games, which means that there is pretty much anything for you to do.
Combo 11 - this is one of my favourite games. You start off with 15 cards, and you have to find pairs of cards that add up to 11, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally. When you can't find any more pairs, you click a button and more cards are put onto the board. You keep doing this until all of the cards are paired up. If you can't pair up any cards, you have a jumble button, which allows you to mix up where the cards are. You can only use the jumble button once. This game has a time limit of 3 minutes, which is perfectly adequate for the amount of time it takes to find the pairs. I like this game because it is simple, but very addictive as you want to get as far as possible.
Carpet - this is another one of my favourite games. You begin with 16 cards on the board, with space for four more. You also have a pile of cards that you can go through only once. You have to put the cards in order onto the corresponding ace cards, from either the pile or the cards already on the board. If you cannot put any cards away, then you have to decide whether or not you want to put a card from on the pile onto the board, or come back to it later. This is a hard choice because you can only go through the pile once. You have four minutes to play this game, which is just about enough time. It gets harder as you go through each level, as you have one less space on the board to put down a card. This game is fun too because you want to see how far you can get.
Poker Slide - I haven't played this one much, as I do not understand poker. From what I can see, you have a lot of time for this game, but as I don't play it, I cannot tell for sure.
Triples - this is another poker type game, so unfortunately I haven't been able to play it much. Again, it does look like you have plenty of time to complete this game.
Speed Solitaire - this is a game that I do enjoy. It doesn't really take much explaining, it's just normal solitaire. You do have a six minute time limit, but even if you do go over that time, you can continue because each round is regarded as a bonus round. There are two good things with this solitaire is it is a one card draw, which is much easier, and the cards automatically turn over when you move one of them. The game does not get any harder as you progress through the levels, and I haven't actually lost a game yet - in fact, I think it is impossible to. I like this game because it is simple and a great way to waste time.
Bowling - this is a really weird game, as it is quite easy to play. You tap the ball, and then you push it forwards when the arrow points to the direction in which you want to go. This is a simple game, cause you can easily get a strike as long as you know when to push the ball. The moving arrow does get faster the further along you go. I believe you have six minutes to play this game, which is plenty of time. I don't often play this game because I find it too easy and a bit boring.
Catwalk Caper - I don't really play this game, because I don't understand really what to do. You are a criminal, and there are four platforms that you have to walk across to collect money. There are several police officers that try and catch you to arrest you. I'm not sure how long you have, but I think it's around 12 minutes. You have three lives, and once you have been caught three times, the game is over.
Billiards - there isn't much to describe in this game, as it is normal billiards. I don't really play this game much because it is really tricky to work out how to hit the ball. You have three minutes to play it, but I don't know if that is good or not, as I don't play it much.
Beaned - this game involves hitting the enemy with a bean bag as the walk past on three platforms. There are also people on your side, so if you hit them, you lose a point. You have to hit 30 enemies in 30 seconds. This game is really strange, so I don't really play it much.
Speed Demon - using your stylus, you have to drive a car along a road. If you hit another car or a tree, it is game over. You can also get boosts by driving over arrows, repairs to the car by driving over spanners and fuel by driving over fuel tanks. The amount of time you have to play this game doesn't really matter, as the car basically drives at a specific speed. I don't really play this game much as it is quite tricky to move the car.
Super Mahki - this is one of my favourite games. There are coloured squares (red, blue, green and yellow) on a board, and you have to get rid of all of the squares. You do this by tapping on one of the colours that is attached to more squares of that colour. The more squares that there are, the more points that you get. You have to clear a set amount of squares by the end of the game to progress to the next level. If you cannot get any more squares, you do have one chance to jumble up the squares, in the hope that there are more that you can get rid of. You have one minute and 45 seconds to complete this game, which is plenty of time. I like this game because it is simple to do, and rather addictive as you want to get as far as possible.
Dice King - this is another one of my favourites. There are lots of dice on the board, but you can only see the the top number. You have to make lines of three or more of the numbers (i.e. three dice in a line that have the number one on them) that go up to a line where you can store seven sets. You need to have three sets of each number that go up into the line of seven (i.e. you have to make three lines of three for each number that are visible at the same time - they do not have to be next to each other, but they do have to be in the line of seven). You also have to get four of the same number in the line, and five of the same number in the line. Along with that, you have to get two sets of two different numbers in the line of seven, and finally a set of two and a set of three different numbers in the line. There are 320 dice in total to go through. You have one minute and 30 seconds to complete this game, but even if you go over the time limit, you can continue, as long as you've had all of the sets. I know that the description of the game was pretty bad there, but once you start playing it, it's pretty simple to understand. I like this game because you really want to see how far through it you can get.
Prismatix - in this game, there is a sequence of gems on the top screen. You have to make a line on the bottom screen that matches those gems. The sequence will then change. You do not get any any extra gems than the ones on the board. You can change the sequence at the top three times by clicking spin. You have to remove as many gems as possible in the six minute time limit. This game isn't one of the best, but it is alright to play if you get bored of the other games.
View Finder - this is basically spot the difference. You get shown a random picture in the top screen and the picture is duplicated onto the bottom screen with five differences. You get points for finding the differences, but you lose points if you just randomly click and don't find a difference. You get three minutes to find all the differences. It doesn't get harder as you progress, probably because it is already pretty tricky to play and the quality of the pictures isn't very good.
Scavenger - in this game, you are shown a picture that has lots of objects hidden into it. You are asked to find five of these objects, which you have to do in three minutes. At first it can seem quite hard, but when you look closely, you can easily see all of the objects. This game can be a bit boring, but it is fun to do for a little while.
What is it - you are shown a small amount of a drawing, and as the time progresses, you are shown more and more. When you know what it is, you have to write it down. If you are right, you move onto the next one. You have to identify 10 pictures in one minute and 45 seconds. This is quite fun as you do have to think, but once you have gone through this game a few times, you can tell what the picture is straight away.
Picture Slide - this game involves sliding parts of picture into the right place to make the picture whole. I find this game quite boring, but that is because I am good a slider games, so it doesn't take me very long. You have a long time to do this game, I'm not too sure how much exactly, but it would be around 10 minutes.
Rampage Empire - this is a very strange game. You have to spell out words in lines that are on a tall building. An ape climbs up the building to destroy that line when you have got the word right. You have three minutes to find seven words. I don't often play this game because I find it really weird. I think as you complete a level, you have more words to find, but I'm not too sure as I don't like playing this game.
Spellwinder - this is basically a wordsearch, however, the words can change direction part way, going from horizontal, to vertical and even to diagonal. As you go through a level, you have more and more words to find. In the first round, it is only four words. I quite like the game because it is easy to understand what to do, and it is quite fun trying to find all the words. You have two minutes and 15 seconds to complete each level.
Catacombs - this game involves you trying to find you way out a maze, whilst several spiders and ghosts try and hunt you and kill you. You have three lives in this game. As you go through the maze, you can pick up coins to help you get more points. You have three minutes to complete the game. I don't really play it much because it is quite boring.
On each game, there is a pause button. When you have pressed pause, you can resume, exit or restart the game, or get help on how to play. You then go to a points screen where you get points for the amount of time you took, your overall score and another category which changes per game. You get wizard points for each game too, which is an overall score of how well you do out of 40. You can get medals when you reach a certain number of points.
You can also play multiplayer, but the other person has to have the game as well, which means spending even more money - but I think that you can get it for around £12 now.
You can only have three people play on the game, as there are only three slots, which is slightly annoying if you want more people to play.
Although I only play on about four of the games, I do think that it has been a great present, because it helps to keep me occupied and there is always something different for me to do. The quality is great, and I would really recommend it anyone.
TouchMaster is one of my favourites in my collection of games for my Nintendo DS Lite, so I treated myself to the second game in this series which is More TouchMaster.
I paid £12.99 including delivery from a seller on Amazon Marketplace, but Game is currently offering it for £9.99 when it is in stock.
More TouchMaster was released in 2008 and published by Midway Games. It is rated as suitable for anyone aged 7 or over according to PEGI's game suitability scheme. There is a warning that it contains violent games, which I think applies to Beaned and Catwalk Caper.
The most noticeable difference from the first TouchMaster, is there are spaces for three player profiles. Setting up my profile was as straight forward as entering my name and choosing an avatar which the game refers to as a mascot. There's a good selection of mascots to choose from and I selected the cat.
The game's menus are clear and easy to navigate. After selecting my player profile I can choose whether to play the games, look at my trophies and achievements in the Trophy Room, start a multiplayer game, or change various options such as my name, mascot and the sound/music effects all in easy to follow menus. There is a back button to go back a menu. A nice touch is the mascot interacts with you if you don't tap anything in the menus, the cat miaows for example.
The 20 games in this collection are organised into the appropriate genres, which I access by tapping the one that I want. There are five sections to choose from which are Card Games, Action Games, Strategy Games, Picture Games and finally Puzzle Games. I consider the last three genres to be puzzle games anyway. I select the game I want by double tapping the one I wish to play. I'm then given a visual record of my achievements such as my trophies and highest score. I felt it would have been better to have gone straight into the game, as I can view my achievements in the Trophy Room.
~Round and round I go~
As with the first TouchMaster game, each of the 20 games on the cartridge is played in 'rounds' which is really another term for 'level' in my opinion. I earn new rounds by meeting certain targets, such as high scores or clearing the screen depending on the game. I really like the idea of the game rounds being generated at random so each new game is different.
~Did these Card Games try my patience?~
One of my favourite sections on the first TouchMaster game is the cards section, so I had high expectations from the Card Games section on More TouchMaster. I really liked the arcade gaming machine feel which I thought added something different to traditional solitaire, but I felt that element was missing from the sequel. That said, I think most of the games are excellent and I enjoyed playing them. I found Carpet very relaxing, and became more challenging as the rounds progressed, and I also liked Triples and Combo 11 once I discovered how to play them. I found the instruction book marginally more helpful than the online help built into the game.
Now, on to the downsides. I didn't see any point in Speed Solitaire, it's described as 'solitaire I will always win unless I make a mistake'. I prefer to play games that are more challenging and don't guarantee winning every time, and in my opinion goes on too long. I think Poker Slide is a good game, but I wouldn't describe it as a card game - in my opinion it is more like a slider puzzle involving playing cards as I have to get as many good poker hands as I can by sliding the card rows and columns around.
~Was there much Action here?~
I felt the Action Games category was the weakest genre in this collection and I was disappointed. I had been looking forward to playing Bowling as I enjoy playing that in 42 All Time Classics, but the More TouchMaster offering has what is in my opinion the worst implementation of Bowling I have ever seen on a Nintendo DS game. Firstly it is fiddly to set the direction the bowling ball is meant to go, as the direction guage which appears on the screen seems to have a mind of its own in my opinion. It took me several goes before I managed to hit any skittles let alone getting 'strikes' and 'spares'. Secondly, I felt the game was too slow, the ball seemed to take forever to hit the skittles, and in my view makes the Bowling in Master All Classics look good, which I also thought was on the slow side.
Billiards isn't too bad, in my view, but it uses different rules to the version in 42 All Time Classics, as the balls aren't potted in numerical order, and the 8 ball must be potted last, although it says 9 in the instruction book. I did find it a bit fiddly to set the cue and aim the balls where I wanted to. The best game in this section is Speed Demon which is a car racing game where I have to collect fuel and avoid obstacles such as other cars by moving the stylus left and right. It can be a bit mesmerising after a while, so I avoid playing this when tired.
~Did I work out the Strategy needed here?~
Overall I thought the Strategy games were excellent, but I think they would have been better placed in the Puzzle section, as most puzzle games require a degree of strategic thinking in order to solve them. The games in this section are among my favourites on this TouchMaster sequel.
Dice King is what I can only describe as 5 Star Generals from the first TouchMaster game (it's something like Yahtzee) meets Bejeweled. I have to make certain combinations of dice using match three game play, I found it very challenging and as enjoyable as other similar games. Likewise I really enjoy playing Prismatix which requires me to clear the board of gems by matching two or more gems in a given colour sequence. If I can match all four gems then I earn a 'spin' which enables me to get a new combination if I run out of moves. I found this as equally challenging as it is difficult not to have single gem stones left on the board.
Mahki has been given a makeover from the first game to what the developer describes as taking the game to 'the next level' to create Super Mahki. I still need to clear the board by selecting two or more of the same coloured tiles as in the first game, but there are a couple of differences. Tiles now drop in from the top screen as the board is cleared, and there's the addition of multipliers to increase my score. At first I wasn't impressed with the new enhanced Mahki, but it's grown on me as I've played it, as there is more incentive to try and get bigger clusters of coloured tiles thanks to bigger multipliers. I would have liked to have seen more different coloured tiles throughout the rounds which I think would have added some more challenge, perhaps this will happen in another TouchMaster game in the future.
~Were these puzzles Picture perfect?~
I thought that the picture puzzle section was good, and I would imagine this section would appeal to anyone who enjoys this type of puzzle, It's not a genre I particularly enjoy playing. What Is It? was a bit of a let down for me as it could have been a good game. I felt the use of black and white images made the objects difficult to see as the picture tiles appeared on the screen.
In my opinion, Scavenger was the only picture game that really stood out. I'm given a picture with various different objects scattered around in it. On the top screen I'm given a random object to find and when I think I've found it I tap the appropriate object on the screen. It is a simple concept, but it is challenging as it isn't always easy to see the objects and it makes me use my eyes more.
~Could I solve the Puzzles in this section?~
I really enjoy puzzle games, and this section did not disappoint me, though I felt that Catacombs would have been better placed in the Action section. My character has to walk around a maze which is generated randomly, avoiding scary monsters to collect gold coins and power ups. It's as good as other 'maze' based games I've played, but it took me a while to get the hang of navigating my character around the mazes using the stylus.
There are two word games in this collection. Rampage Empire is as good as anagram games go though I didn't think it was necessary to have a monster punching out the completed words. Finally there's Spellwinder which is described as a 'word search with a twist' as only adjacent letters can be used to form the list of words. It is an enjoyable game, but I didn't think it was as good as the wordsearch game on the first TouchMaster which was played against the clock and themed to specific topics.
~Oh, I've won a trophy~
Obviously the aim with all the games is to get the highest score I can, but it seems to have taken a back seat when compared with the first TouchMaster game, where the 10 highest scores were recorded. Instead I can earn trophies for certain achievements starting off with bronze and platinum is the highest accolade. Wizard points are awarded depending on the trophies earned, but they don't seem to do anything. High scores is one of the achievements awarded trophies, but the rest vary from game to game. While I think the trophies are a good idea, I miss the top 10 high scores from the first game.
~Graphics and Sound~
The graphics are of a reasonable quality, and much better than the first game. The font used to represent the card value on the cards could have been clearer, but at least all the values are visible in Speed Solitaire. The game makes good use of both screens where needed, for example Billiards has an overview of the table on the top screen showing me where the different balls are, and their values, helping me reduce the risk of potting the 8 ball before I should. Jaggies do put in the odd appearance but it's nothing too serious.
The music and the sound effects can get irritating after a while, especially the 'ding ding' at the start of each round, and the 'Britain's Got Talent' style buzzers when I tap on the wrong object in Scavenger. I have turned the background music off and left the sound effects on like I do in most games. I just turn the volume off on my DS Lite if I don't want the sound on.
There is a multiplayer mode, but it is essentially two people playing a game, at exactly the same time to get the highest score. In my opinion, this defeats the purpose of a multiplayer facility. I think it would have been better for the developers to have allowed players to send games to another DS as a gift like Solitaire DS does, as the vast majority of games in this collection are in my view designed for one player.
Overall, I really like More TouchMaster, and most of the games are very good, and some are excellent. I didn't think it was as good as the first game in this series, but I think it's because the fast and furious arcade game feel wasn't as prominent in my opinion. That said I think there are some better quality and more challenging games than the first card such as Prismatix, Scavenger and Dice King to name a few examples. I think the random nature of the games increases its replay value as it's a different game everytime. As with any games collection there were some games that I didn't like, but that's to be expected as the developers have to cater for as many tastes as possible.
I think the online help could have been a lot better, as it didn't really explain how to play the games. The instruction book is marginally better, but it can take several playing attempts to understand how to play them.
I like the addition of the trophies, but as I said earlier, I miss the top 10 high scores format from the first game which I thought gave TouchMaster it's character, and embraced its arcade gaming machine heritage. I think some fans of the first game might be disappointed with the lack of wireless internet mode which means they can't post their high scores on the TouchMaster server like they did on the first game when the game server was running.
I recommend this game to anyone who likes puzzle games and card games as they are the strongest categories in my opinion. I also recommend shopping around to get the best price, obviously observing good buying practices to avoid getting a pirated copy.
Accordingly I award the game a four star rating as the games I enjoy playing are mostly excellent, but some of them could be improved. I've deducted a star as I felt it lacked the charm and arcade feel of the first game, I thought the online help was useless, and there's the issue of the pointless multiplayer mode. That said it does live up to the claims on the box, stopping is impossible!
Also on Ciao under the same user name. Review © Munchkin2009 September 2010